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With Murray’s Support, HELP Committee Approves Nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be FDA Commissioner

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee approved the nomination of Dr. Robert Califf to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ahead of the vote, Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks expressing her support for Califf’s nomination, highlighting his history of leadership, record of advancing medical breakthroughs, and commitment to academic transparency and a strong, independent FDA. Murray also discussed challenges that lay ahead for the FDA and laid out priorities key to improving the health and wellbeing of patients and families across the country. 


Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:


“Thank you, Chairman Alexander.


“I am pleased to be moving forward today with Dr. Califf’s nomination to be Commissioner of the FDA.


“Whether it’s approving drugs and medical devices or ensuring the safety and nutritional soundness of our food supply, the FDA Commissioner plays an important role in protecting and promoting public health. And every family depends on the FDA to maintain the highest standards of safety and effectiveness.


“This is a very important time for the agency. Because even though real progress has been made in recent years to improve FDA’s work to protect families and communities, there is more work that needs to be done.


“This includes continuing to encourage development of safe, effective treatments and cures to tackle chronic illness and other diseases.


“I am also focused on ensuring the FDA is taking full advantage of information technology, and can monitor the safety of products after they reach the market.


“And there is much more we can do to bring patients’ voices into the process of developing new treatments and cures – so that their priorities are consistently being reflected.


“We also need to make sure we are giving full attention to urgent public health challenges. That means continuing work to ensure our nation’s food supply is safe and healthy, ensuring the agency is doing everything possible to stop tobacco companies from targeting children, and doing more to confront widespread illnesses – like heart disease and diabetes.”


“Another important priority is ensuring the FDA always places science over politics. Families must be able to trust the FDA to not play politics with their health.


“And as we discuss the availability of safe and effective prescription drugs, I believe it is critical to underscore that we also need to look at ways to reduce the financial burden some prescription drugs place on families. I will continue working with my colleagues to address this issue.


“I’ve approached this nomination focused on the best interests of families and communities in Washington state and across the country, and after careful consideration and review, I believe Dr. Califf will be a valuable partner as head of the FDA.


“From his history of leadership and management experience, to his record of advancing medical breakthroughs on challenging illnesses through clinical trials, and his commitment to transparency in relationships with industry - Dr. Califf’s record has made clear that he will be a strong, independent FDA Commissioner.


“And I believe he will contribute leadership and expertise as we work to find new ways to advance medical innovation, and improve the health and wellbeing of families across the country.


“So I will support his nomination today, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me.


“Mr. Chairman, I look forward to continuing our work together and with our colleagues to improve the health of the communities we serve. Thank you.”